Monday, October 12, 2009

Freedom of Speech and the Pulpit

This morning, over at The Recliner Commentaries, is a post concerning last week's "Pulpit Freedom Sunday." This annual event sponsored by the Alliance Defense Fund, is an attempt to highlight the freedom of speech/freedom of religion which was trampled by the 1954 Johnson Amendment.

I am proud to say that my pastor, who also happens to author of the Recliner Commentaries blog, chose to take part in this years "civil disobedience." In contrast, I am ashamed to say that only 82 other pastors across the United States cared enough about the right of free speech, which our founding fathers said was a right GIVEN BY GOD, to do likewise!

In case you are wondering, Pastor Ingolfsland delivered a sermon for the occasion which was very even handed. He addressed both sides of several issues, and showed where the Bible comes down on each. One point that I feel especially worth sharing: every time a government run school teaches that homosexual relationships are good and natural and right, they are in effect telling your children that the Bible is wrong. By extension they are teaching your children that you (if you are Christian), are wrong and that you are a bigot!

Only 83 pastors. Wow. That is truly pathetic. My only hope is that the lack of participation was due to lack of awareness rather than apathy. Please ask your pastor if he knew, and if he might participate next year.


Joe Blackmon said...

Brother Lee,

Let me ask--is this related to the prohibition by the IRS related to pastors endorsing candidates from office? From reading your post, it looks like they more spoke to issues which I don't think there is a prohibition against.

St.Lee said...

Hi Brother Joe, You are correct for the most part about the prohibition, however, here is a quote from

"Currently, the law prohibits political campaign activity by charities and churches by defining a 501(c)(3) organization as one which does not participate in, or intervene in (including the publishing or distributing of statements), any political campaign on behalf of (or in opposition to) any candidate for public office."

What I did not make clear in my post, was that as part of the sermon, names were named, and positions which oppose the Bible were exposed. I do believe that would qualify as opposition to a candidate, even if technically there is no campaign taking place at the moment.

Joe Blackmon said...

Ok, I'm going to run this by you.

If a pastor is preaching a text from the Bible that says homosexuality is a sin, people who break the law and illegally enter the country should be punished because laws are there to be followed, and abortion is immoral and he encourages the church to vote in accordance with scripture I would say "Get 'r done!" He is faithfully teaching the word of God. But the bible doesn't mandate a preacher to endorse a particular candidate (at least as far as I'm aware).

Now, I think the law is stupid to say that a pastor cannot endorse a particular candidate ("Go vote for Joe Smith"). However, it is the law and I believe Romans 13:1 tells us to be subject to the governmental authorities. Of course, be subject as long as they don't pass a law that contradicts a command given by God. If God gave the command to endorse a particular cadidate, I'd be all for violating that law just like I'm all for violating the laws that are in the works to prevent Christians from calling homosexuality immoral. However, since the law does not violate a mandate in the Bible or call the Christian to do something the Bible says not to do I believe we should obey the law and work to change it. To not obey the law, in my opinion, harms our Christian witness.

St.Lee said...

I can certainly see your point, and I don't entirely disagree. The whole point of setting aside one Sunday per year for this "peaceful civil disobedience" is to point out the unconstitutionality of the 1954 law. Certainly it is a slippery slope on both sides. A church can ill afford to become too political lest it forget its real purpose. Likewise, none of us can afford to sit idly by as our rights (which the founders believed were God-given) are taken away, one by one.

As our pastor prays before he begins each sermon, we all need to pray that God would give us discernment as to what is God's word and what is man's opinion so that we do not confuse the two.

Joe Blackmon said...

Well, like I said, it's a pretty stupid law and truthfully that would be a hard one to enforce. I would suspect that IRS auditors have much bigger fish to fry, as it were.